Ryan Nassib was drafted as the heir apparent to Eli Manning. Now he'll spend the year as the backup quarterback-in-waiting.

The rookie from Syracuse is one of three quarterbacks the Giants kept on their roster, the first time since 2007 they have held on to that many at the position. They also kept Curtis Painter and cut David Carr, who had served as Manning's understudy for four of the past five seasons.

Because the Giants want to develop Nassib but believe he is not ready to play if something were to happen to Manning, they had to keep the extra quarterback on their 53-man roster.

"So be it if that's what it takes," Tom Coughlin said of using two spots and hoping neither plays a snap this season.

Painter is entering his fourth season but was not in the league last year. The Giants hope it seems that way this year, too.

Many factors likely weighed into the decision to keep Painter over Carr. Carr would have cost more money, and his contract would have been fully guaranteed had he been on the opening day roster. The Giants can cut Painter during the season if Nassib is making progress or if they need to add another position player in an emergency.

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Coughlin insisted the decision came down to football.

"We simply based it on the preseason," he said of the decision. "From the standpoint of all the evaluations, it pointed to the fact that Painter had a better preseason."

Painter completed 26 of 51 passes (51.0 percent) for 289 yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of 74.7. Carr completed 19 of 30 (63.3 percent) for 163 yards and no touchdowns. His passer rating was 77.5.

Carr won't be missed on Sundays, at least not if Manning continues to start and play in every game for the foreseeable future. But he did make an impact on the team during the week.

"We'll miss David Carr around here, to be honest with you," Coughlin said. "He's done an outstanding job directing our second offense and our scout team."